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IMAGES: The best (and worst) of Fashion Week!

Last updated on: August 23, 2011 18:56 IST

IMAGES: The best (and worst) of Fashion Week!

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We bring you an overview of the recently-concluded LFW -- here's the best action straight off the runway!

Celebs showstopped, models preened, designers outdid each other and Bollywood attended -- the Lakme Fashion Week's Winter/Festive installment was buzzing as usual. So for all you die-hard fashionistas, we present a recap of days one through five -- in reverse, leading from the grand finale back to GenNext!

Manish Malhotra's latest collection is still being discussed, two days after it brought down the curtain at the LFW with much fanfare and Kareena Kapoor. Nobody can do ethnicwear quite like this master couturier, but unfortunately, it was only Bebo's ensemble -- a garish champagne and silver sequin kalidaar -- that fell flat. Definitely overdone and the worst of the lot, despite the fact that she looked fresh-faced and beautiful.


Image: Anjali Lavanya for Manish Malhotra
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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From ethnic to entertaining and unwearable

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The second half of Day Five also saw showings by Nandita Thirani, Preeti S Kapoor, Digvijat Singh, Vivek Kumar, Aneeth Arora and Kallol Datta (click here for a round-up of their showings).

Nandita Thirani managed to pull off an outrageous theme that fused Victorian influences with Mumbai fashion.

Preeti S Kapoor also claimed to use European influences in her ethnicwear, but she probably doesn't realise that just because a lehenga uses French lace, that doesn't make it French-looking! Still, her garments were very easy on the eyes.

Digvijay Singh mixed florals and geometrical patterns well, but the line was more resort and summer than winter-festive.

Vivek Kumar went for "a cross between the Dragon Warrior Queen and Star Wars Empress" and the end result was exactly what we thought it would be -- entertaining and absolutely unwearable.

As for Aneeth Arora and Kallol Datta, both of whom are to represent India at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Berlin next January, there's just one thing that can be said -- androgyny does not mean unappealing and ugly!


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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From boho-chic to downright kitschy

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The first half of the final day saw presentations by 'SOUP' from Sougat Paul, Nimish Shah's label 'Shift', Rohan Arora, Shagufta Quamar, Atithi Gupta and 'Sabashe' by Sabah Khan (click here for a round-up of all six designers).

We didn't see how Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's movies possibly had anything to do with Sougat Paul's line, but the eveningwear was feminine and on-trend, so no damage done.

The same goes for Nimish Shah's label shift, which claimed the influence of French filmmaker Jacques Tati (seriously, where do designers dream these up?). To us, the 'European sophistication' it professed was just a 10-dollar term for drab.

Shagufta Quamar's spiritually-inspired handbags were also quite boho-chic, with serene prints of the Buddha and Krishna on them (let's hope this doesn't blow into another commercialisation of religion controversy).

The dresses by Atithi Gupta were nice enough, but nothing we haven't seen before, while Sabah Khan's collection 'Darzi' was a little too kitschy for our taste.

Rohan Arora's footwear was surprisingly attractive, though -- well-made and stylish, they're sure to have a lot of takers. If the price is right.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Perhaps a bit too fluid?

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When your show is sponsored, you go with the sponsor's theme. Wendell Rodricks did an admirable job of keeping his identity intact with pastels and fluid silhouettes for the Himalayan Natural Mineral Water showing. Still, the garments lacked that 'oomph' factor -- when all of them look like fanciful nightwear, it's time to go back to the drawing board.


Image: A Wendell Rodricks creation
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
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A riot of colour that was just too riotous

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Neeta Lulla seems to have a hard time reigning in her love of luxury -- loud, loud luxury. Swirls, twirls, velour, bright gold, embroidery so heavy the models instantly lost another pound or two...Sigh. Whatever happened to 'less is more'?


Image: Candice Pinto for Neeta Lulla
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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Cocktails and 'pure' zombies

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Babita M, Drashta Sarvaiya and Rehane ushered in the second half of Day Four (here's a glimpse of their collections).

Drashta Sarvaiya's cocktail couture didn't miss a beat and despite Babita M's line being ominously named 'Metal-Morphosis', the metal pieces, nuts, bolts, screws and metal sheets that embellished her garments didn't come in the way of wearability and appeal.

Rehane, on the other hand, decided to send out an all-white, unfinished line that was intended to "embody the purity of woman". Casual and cool, the creations would have looked much better if the models weren't dusted from head to toe in talcum powder that had them looking like zombies from a B-grade Bollywood horror flick.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Partywear, robots and underwater musings

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The first half of Day Four at the LFW consisted of showings by Deux A, Arjun Agarwal, Pam & Arch London, Abhi Singh and Purvi Doshi (view their collections here).

Arjun Agarwal's partywear hit the spot -- it was sophisticated, stylish and on-trend.

Pam & Arch London went for the semi-formal look, with pretty prints on jersey and lycra dresses -- neat, but nothing exceptional.

'The Deep Blue Sea' by Abhi Singh was alluring, with its delicate aqua tones and hiked-up hemlines.

Anna-Liza and Anita Walia's label Deux A gave us a double-take with robotic stylings inspired by the 1920s movie Metropolis (here we go again!). While most creations could not be worn anyplace else other than a catwalk, the others were surprisingly sexy.

And Purvi Doshi's 'Peek-a-boo' line was more 'boo' than 'peek' -- unusual, but not necessarily skimpy or appealing.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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How much is too much?

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Bringing Day Three to a grand close was Sabyasachi, who seems to be becoming rather repetitive. The designer reminded us once again of his love for traditional Indian handicrafts, which we very much appreciate, but maybe it's time to move on from old-world charm, because it's wearing thin in Sabya's case. Salwaars, tunics, vests, palazzo pants, a forgotten art of embroidery -- it was more or less the same old story, although he did manage to wow us with a few choice designs.


Image: Sabyasachi creations
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
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Bling it on

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Someone who did manage to surprise us on Day Three was Pria Kataaria Puri. While she will never give up on her trademark bling, the designer did manage to breathe sophistication and sexiness into her collection. And for once, her beloved kaftan maxis took a backseat.


Image: Neha Sharma in a Pria Kataaria Puri creation creation
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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Gold embellishments, black-and-white classics

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The works of Payal Kothari, Paromita Banerjee, Vizyon, Debarun and Shyamal and Bhumika were showcased in the latter half on Day Three (view their lines here).

Shradha Murarka and Ninon Palisse's 'Golden Age' from Vizyon certainly made its mark, with graceful metallic touches to the urbane eveningwear.

Shyamal and Bhumika's opulent festive garments was also designed along the right lines -- tasteful and tempting.

Unlike many before him, Debarun Mukherjee managed to pull off an entirely black-and-white collection with key pieces.

Payal Kothari's footwear was fresh, if a tad too uniform -- some pairs were distinguishable purely on the basis of colour.

When you take into account that Paromita Banerjee does nothing but earthy anti-fits in traditional textiles for every single collection each year, however, maybe Kothari's uniform footwear isn't so bad!


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Cupcakes and samurais

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The first half of Day Three offered us the best of Raman Vij, Ruchika Sachdeva, Shivaji Dutta, Harangad Singh and VJ Balhara (see their designs here).

Harangad Singh played it practical and pretty, for which we're quite grateful.

We certainly can't say the same for VJ Balhara, whose casuals were really eyecatching except for the fact that he chose to draw away from them with faux pastries on all the model's heads.

Shivaji Dutta created an entire collection from cast-away shreds of fabrics, but you'd never know it by the looks of the garments. They were 100 percent finished and wearable.

Ruchika Sachdev's line called 'Bodice' drew inspiration from architecture, history and machinery and we must say, she pulled off the androgynous look with elan.

Raman Vij put some trendy knits on display -- at least one designer remembered to work on winterwear. But then what his sexy sweater dresses had to do with samurais, we still don't know.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Suiting us just fine

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At the finale on Day Two, Narendra Kumar finally redeemed himself after a last couple of disastrous seasons. Well-cut, timeless suits for men took to the ramp and with the models (and showstopper Kabir Bedi) grooving to Sinatra, it was all rather memorable.


Image: Freddy Daruwala for Narendra Kumar
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
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Indian classics

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Also putting up a great show on Day Two was Anita Dongre, whose sensual, understated and classic ethnicwear is catching on fast. Look out, Manish, you may have competition!


Image: An Anita Dongre creation
Photographs: Rajesh Karkera
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Poles apart

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Nachiket Barve, Swapnil Shinde, LittleShilpa, Parvesh Jai and Payal Kapoor showcased in the second half of Day Two (check out their collections here).

Nachiket Barve, Swapnil Shinde and LittleShilpa all showcased as part of a DHL-sponsored do. While Barve's garments were elegant and on-trend, Swapnil's were futuristic without reaching space queen proportions, which is a good thing. But LittleShilpa made sure to go to outlandish extremes as usual, with pieces that were low on wearability and high on imagination.

Parvesh Jai's zardozi ethnicwear consisted of both hits and misses, the misses mainly courtesy feathers, too-plush tones and garrish gold.

As for Payal Kapoor, her festivewear was demure and pretty, with pale colours and tasteful hints of sparkle.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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From India to the Orient

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Earlier on Day Two, we witnessed the stylings of Manjaree Jindal, Zuilee, Pallavi Goenka, Vaishali S, Amalraj Sengupta and Sanjay Hingu (view their lines here).

Manjaree Jindal presented some lovely sheers and cutwork by way of her cocktail line.

Pallavi Goenka's 'Meler' collection was dedicated to women who appreciate India's crafts and textiles but the designs were hardly captivating.

The chanderi-paithani mix from STRONG>Vaishali S provided for some unique and interesting numbers.

Amalraj Sengupta went for Asian inspiration with Obe-like leather belts, texturing and pleats -- his creations were well-cut and wearable.

Juilee Bendkhale's label Zuilee sought to blend East and West and came up with rather a commonplace collection.

As for Sanjay Hingu, he had a little more success than Bendkhale on that front, albeit for menswear.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Photogenic fashion

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JJ Valaya recently made his debut as a fine art photographer, so it's not surprising that he sought to bring his two passions together at the LFW by debuting a fashion collection inspired by photography. And the master couturier pulled it off -- his ethnicwear is still as desirable as ever.


Image: A JJ Valaya creation
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
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Busy as a bee

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Too busy. That best describes Rina Dhaka's collection on Day One, despite a couple of beautiful numbers. For the most part, the garments had way too much happening and the designer would have done well to stick to simpler styles.


Image: Nicole Faria for Rina Dhaka
Photographs: Uday Kuckian
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Some unusual, some trying to be

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The Day One round-up consisted of designs by Archana Kochhar, Nishka Lulla, Mayank Anand and Shraddha Nigam, Jatin Varma and Payal Singhal (here's a look at their lines).

Nishka Lulla seemed to have better luck t han her mother's with her East-West resortwear line -- it was original, colourful and edgy.

Jatin Varma scored on the eveningwear front -- definitely one of the better lines at the LFW this year.

While Archana Kochhar's citrus-hued overtones were on-trend, the creations were really nothing to write home about.

On the other hand, Payal Singhal's pastel ethnics were an absolute vision. Lovely!

As for Mayank Anand and Shraddha Nigam, they had a mix -- some garments were really unusual, others were trying hard to be.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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New talent

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And finally, we come to the GenNext show that opened Lakme this season.

It certainly looks like the new generation were trying to outdo each other on the outrageous front. There were some hopefuls talent-wise, but for the most part we were deluged in loud statements that had us squirming.

Until next season, this is us signing off!


Image: A GenNext creation
Photographs: Uday Kuckian
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